How do race, gender, class, and sexuality affect families and the issues they face?

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This question is leaving open a large variable that will definitely affect the answer. That variable is the location of the family. The answer to this question largely depends on the country and culture that the family is a part of.

Racial discrimination exists all across the world; however, different countries are much more tolerant than others. For example, the United States is one of the most racially tolerant countries, while India is consistently one of the most racist countries in the world. It's possible that race has zero effect on a family that lives in a very tolerant area. This reasoning could be applied to gender and sexuality as well. Sexism and gender bias are various types of discrimination that pass judgement on a phenotypic trait. This could be an advantage or disadvantage to a family, but that depends on the family and the surrounding culture that the family is in.

I believe that socioeconomic status is less forgiving. While a family might be perfectly happy being "poor," that family is still going to feel the limitations that exist because of a lack of monetary earning power. The socioeconomic class of a family could even be related to Maslow's hierarchy of needs. If a family is poor enough that feeding members the minimal caloric intake isn't possible, then that family doesn't move from the bottom tier of the needs pyramid. They are so focused on obtaining minimal physical needs, that things like mental health and continuing education are not concerns of the family.

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From an American or British standpoint, race still affects many families due to what some argue is inherent institutional racism. For instance, African Americans make up an unusually large portion of the US prison population despite being a minority group (12.7% of the total United States population). This imbalance could mean that African Americans, especially males, are more likely to be imprisoned, usually for non-violent offenses such as drug sales or drug possession. This affects the African American family and the black community as a whole, because it extracts the male presence from the household. This creates a community of economic and social depravity.

Likewise, despite progress in women's rights, sexism is still present in the American and British workforce. For example, independent studies have shown that women get paid less than their male counterparts despite holding the same positions or even higher ones. This affects women's contribution to the household.

The same can be said about sexual orientation discrimination. The most prominent example is the discrimination of LGBT military personnel in the United States Armed Forces. On a more intimate level, homosexuality might not be accepted by the family, and can destroy familial relationships.

Class, or socioeconomic levels, can determine the productivity of a family if no economic opportunities can be secured. For instance, a family living in an impoverished neighborhood that has high levels of crime has more obstacles to face than a middle-class or affluent family in terms of moving up the socioeconomic ladder.

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